UPDATE: Kansas 'Hard 50' Bill Goes To Governor

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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UPDATE: Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Kansas Senate has sent Gov. Sam Brownback a bill revising a state law allowing 50-year sentences in certain murder cases to fix a constitutional flaw.

The legislation requires juries rather than judges to decide if the facts of a case warrant a sentence of 50 years without parole.

Wednesday's 40-0 Senate came one day after the House approved the measure 122-0.

Kansas legislators revised the so-called "Hard 50" law during a special session prompted by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a Virginia case. The high court ruled that giving judges the sole authority to determine whether to impose a mandatory minimum sentence was unconstitutional.

Kansas adopted the "Hard 50" in 1999, replacing a mandatory 40-year sentence that had been in place since 1990.

Previous story:

A Kansas Senate committee is taking up a proposal that revamps a law imposing an automatic 50-year sentence on some convicted murderers.

Senate leaders say Wednesday that they hope to make quick work of the legislation and end the special session that was prompted by a U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a similar law in Virginia.

The House passed the measure 122-0 Tuesday.

Kansas adopted the so-called Hard 50 prison sentence in 1990, when the Legislature rejected the death penalty but wanted to ensure long sentences in certain murder cases.

The new law would apply to about 45 cases that are being tried or on appeal.

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